Friday, March 11, 2011

Questioning Church

This last topic. I have been pondering in my heart for weeks. I am having a hard time voicing it, even in my prayers.

I know many of you have struggled with "church". The Church Body. Denominations. Traditional? Contemporary? Saturday? Sunday?

I am pretty confident in my thoughts on denominations - if it is in the bible - I believe it. Simply. Fully. Sure I love a good Greek and Hebrew Study as well as the next academic geek - but simply, I believe the Holy Spirit will interpret scripture far more clearly than the Strong's dictionary or a lesson in history. If I need another book in order to understand what you are feeding me - then I turn off my brain.  If you need to tell me a personal experience to explain why the verse is relevant to your speech, I will ask for His guidance to hear truth.

So I can attend just about any congregation's weekly gathering. I may not stay and hang around if I constantly have to adjust what I have heard and line it up with truth to my boys - but I love the saints, and the gathering of those who have put their faith In Christ.

My ache in my heart stirs from the BUILDING aspect. And the choosing of a congregation.  In a town where there are so many wonderful choices, and the Spirit seems to be still on direction. And we visit these beautiful families gathering together. And they so want us to join with them.

And we are looking for some great church kids, similar ages to the boys, and have struggled to find any attending congregation. So we stop searching - and gather with a group of ladies. Whose love and joy of the Lord  is refreshing. Their outgoing comments encourage, and the Pastor gives admonishment and encouragement in the word.

And yet - I still feel the loss of church family - as even after a year - we have not created outside friendships, save for the one neighbor that attends there. Offers of fellowship outside of meeting dates are turned down.  Children do not come to befriend our boys. And I am left week after week feeling the lonliness in a crowd.  I hear from one sister - and she tells me of her jealousy that I came into the crowd, and the time that the other women give to me. I can't help but stare in silence. Because they say Hi to me for 10 seconds on Sunday - she is unable to give friendship?

And then the illness comes full force. It started in November, then worsened with a viral infection in December, and lasted through the first week of January, and slowly through to February we fought to leave the house.  And we are unable to attend on Sundays. Unable to attend anything.  And little did I know at that time that with my body shutting down, the depression was tightening around my heart and mind.

And no one came. And our house flooded. And our Bank Account Broke. And our stomachs were hungry. And no one came.  And our son walked to a nearby church.

And then they came. By txt and by email. Of questioning. of Shame. of Hurt. But no offers to pick up the kids, even after my urging, to bring them to fellowship.

And so - as we pulled out - we gravitated towards those who did come, and give food, and encouragement, and teaching - while we were at the bottom of the pit.

And then they came again, with hurt, and advice, and hurtful comments.

And now - as I am coming out of the fog that has been the last 3-4 months - I am seeing more clearly. And wondering about these buildings full of people wanting the approval that comes with joining their membership. And hurt around town, from those we didn't choose.

Do we have to congregate in the same building to a part of the same Body? Or to maintain friendships?

And today - it came to a head for me. And broke my heart. And it is the first time my heart has been full of sadness and the weight of pain and mourning.  As I approached two christian sisters today - and they shunned me. Openly. Before my children. Swiftly and quickly as I tried to embrace them after not seeing them for months.


Why?  Why do we have such a tiny little town full of so many tiny churches?  One church trying to build  a multimillion dollar monument to attract the rest of the town.  "When we get the millions, and build the building, then THEN we will be able to go into the community to find those who do not know Christ". Yep. Out of the young pastor's mouth.  Sigh.

What do you think? What part of Sunday Church is biblical to the Body of Christ? Sorrow. Sadness. and a Broken Heart for His Body.


Simply Taunya said...

Oh Angie...I can't wait to get back to Lincoln City. I have so much I want to tell you. Now I know why God had our paths cross. We are an answer to each other's prayers. Love you my friend!

Blossom said...

How did I not know you had this blog?? This particular post is so relevant! I don't have an experience that mirrors this (but it breaks my heart for your experience) yet I've contemplated this very thing.
...if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing..
Praying that you find what you need- but God's word is so much more powerful than a man who stands at the front of an audience and 'preaches'. Keep in God's word. Although the physical church is nice for company, it isn't the way to God.